Thursday, June 30, 2011

Food n' Flix, No Reservations

This month's movie for Food N' Flix is No Reservations.
Plot Summary from Kate is a terrific chef at a Manhattan restaurant, sent to therapy by the restaurant owner because she is cold, unyielding, rule-bound, and a pain in the neck. Kate's world is flipped over when her only sister dies and her ten-year-old niece, Zoe, comes to live with her. As Kate struggles to be a parent to a grief-stricken child, the one world she used to control - the restaurant kitchen - is changed utterly by the restaurant's hiring a second chef, the loose, operatic, Italian-trained Nick, who claims it's an honor to work in Kate's kitchen but who she suspects wants to replace her. Can the music of Puccini and the taste of good pasta soften Kate's heart? Written by
I enjoyed the movie but I wished it was more about the chef's kitchen rivalry and less about the niece. In fact, I could have done without the family backstory altogether. My dish was inspired by the pasta dishes Aaron Eckhart's character was always whipping up. There is something so warm and comforting about a big bowl of pasta with crusty garlic bread; how could Kate not fall for him? Delicious.
Debbie from Kahakai Kitchen is hosting this month's posts so please head over to her site and check out all the other amazing dishes inspired by the movie.
Spaghetti Bolognese
Adapted from Emeril Lagasee

1 tablespoon olive oil
4 ounces bacon or pancetta, diced
1 1/2 cups chopped yellow onions (I used red onion)
3/4 cup diced carrots
3/4 cup diced celery
1 tablespoon minced garlic
1 teaspoon salt
1/2 teaspoon ground black pepper
2 bay leaves
1/2 teaspoon dried thyme
1/4 teaspoon dried oregano
1/2 teaspoon ground cinnamon
1/2 teaspoon ground nutmeg
1 pound ground beef or ground veal
1/2 pound pork sausage, removed from the casings, or ground pork (I used ground turkey instead of sausage)
2 tablespoons tomato paste
1 cup red wine
2 (14 1/2-ounce) cans crushed tomatoes and their juice
1 (14 1/2-ounce) can tomato sauce
1 cup beef or chicken stock or broth
2 teaspoons sugar
1/4 cup heavy cream (I used 2% milk)
2 tablespoons unsalted butter
3 tablespoons chopped fresh parsley leaves
1 pound spaghetti
1 cup freshly grated Parmesan

In a large pot, heat the oil over medium-high heat. Add the bacon and cook, stirring, until browned and the fat is rendered, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the onions, carrots and celery and cook, stirring, until soft, 4 to 5 minutes. Add the garlic, salt, pepper, bay leaves, thyme, oregano, cinnamon, and nutmeg and cook, stirring, for 30 seconds. Add the beef and sausages, and cook, stirring, until no longer pink, about 5 minutes. Add the tomato paste and cook, stirring, for 1 to 2 minutes. Add the wine and cook, stirring, to deglaze the pan and remove any browned bits sticking to the bottom of the pan, and until half of the liquid is evaporated, about 2 minutes.

Add the tomatoes and their juices, the tomato sauce, beef broth, and sugar and bring to a boil. Reduce the heat to medium-low and simmer, stirring occasionally, to keep the sauce from sticking to the bottom of the pan, until the sauce is thickened and flavorful, about 1 1/2 hours. Add the cream, butter, and parsley, stir well, and simmer for 2 minutes. Discard the bay leaves and adjust the seasoning, to taste. Remove from the heat and cover to keep warm until ready to serve.

Meanwhile, bring a large pot of salted water to a boil. Add the pasta and return the water to a low boil. Cook, stirring occasionally to prevent the noodles from sticking, until al dente, 8 to 10 minutes. Drain in a colander.

Add the pasta to the sauce, tossing to coat. Add 1/2 cup of the cheese and toss to blend. Divide among pasta bowls and serve with the cheese passed tableside. (Alternatively, toss only the desired portion of pasta with a bit of the sauce at a time in a serving bowl, reserving the remainder for another meal.)
I made the sauce the night before and then reheated it in my slow cooker the next day for dinner. The flavor is incredible. I've never had a better bolognese. You must try it.
Have you seen No Reservations? What did you think?


  1. You need to see Mostly Martha. That's the German (original and so much better) version. Much more about food and just better overall.

  2. I haven't seen it but it sounds enjoyable.

    Now I'm hungry.

  3. Great post! That spaghetti looks amazing and I thought the movie was cute.

  4. Your spaghetti looks delicious--perfect for Nick. Thanks for joining in Food n' Flix this month. ;-)



  5. that looks amazing! great post- i love this blogger group! such a swell idea!